Monthly Archives: December 2013

Who could have predicted?

Exactly a year, December. 31, 2012 had a conversation with my friend Richard and said that. 2013 was going to be a year of change for me. Big change. I didn’t know how or what – I just knew I was ready. I couldn’t possibly have predicted this though.

In January I saw an unlikely job posting online for a job in Killaloe. I decided to throw my hat into the ring, knowing full well that as an outsider (‘from away’) and a man and having no direct experience in the field, I wouldn’t even get an interview. I was wrong.

I made the winter drive up and had my  interview on February 26 and it seemed to go well but I was still pretty sure I wouldn’t get the job. A week went by and then another and then finally a call. The job was mine. It was for real.   I accepted with loads of doubt but really without question. I just did it.

Extracting myself from a life that I had built in Kitchener over 29 years wasn’t easy going. Closing up shop at work, getting the house ready for sale, celebrating the end of long standing routines. It took its toll. And everyone wanted a piece of me to keep. I drove out of Kitchener late afternoon on May. 5 and started my new job in Killaloe on May 6. There was no time for down time or a gentle transition.

The house sold in July, after just a couple of days on the market and the deal closed in September. The next day a house came on the market in Killaloe. that was perfect and I bought it before they had a chance to get the sign on the lawn. I moved in October and settled in to my new life in November and December – figuring out new habits and rituals along the way.

So did I win the lottery? It kind of feels like it. I am living mortgage free in a perfect little house. My car spends most of the time parked in the garage while I walk to work. I get most of my food directly from farmers that I know. And the icing on the cake is that I am only half an hour from the cottage and I get to go there regularly.  

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These days it’s for show shoe adventures on the lake with the dogs.

As I spend News Years Eve with my friend Jay today I don’t think I will be predicting another big year of change. 2014 will be about putting down roots (apple tree roots included!), making new friends, and establishing new traditions. A happy new year indeed.

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And it snows…

The first snow of the season was on November 23rd and we’ve had snow on the ground since. It keeps snowing and I keep shoveling.

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Hard to tell in this pic but the snow banks are close to 7 feet high. 

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Welll above the top of the shovel and taller than me.

Slow but sure I shovel, one row at a time. I’m keeping the driveway completely clear. It seems to be my new hobby.

Friday overnight we got about 5 inches. I shovelled. Saturday overnight we got another 10 inches. I shovelled. Southern Ontario seems to have got ice and freezing rain. I think this is better. 

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Last night I had the first of the lamb.   Hummus Kawarma from Jerusalem, the brilliant cookbook by Yotam Ottolengghi and Sami Tamimi. Silky smooth hummus topped with ground lamb that had been marinated with allspice, garlic, cinnamon and lemon. With pine nuts, chick peas and a garlicky chilli lemon sauce on top. Clearly the richest meal I have eaten in ages. It was amazing.

It’s still snowing now so likely another round of shoveling later this afternoon. For now though, a cup of tea and a cookbook to get me through the afternoon while my thoughts are with my friends who are travelling to be with family for the holidays.    Safe journey.

I met the cow

Back in the summer I met a cow. She’s a pretty Brown Swiss. She’s made an appearance on this. Blog before so you might remember her.

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She recently  moved in with a cheesemaker who wanted her because apparently her milk is perfect. Earlier this week I got to buy a 3 pound wheel of her very first cheese. 

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It’s cheddar and I expect it will be glorious. I read up about it and it prefers to be aged at 10 degrees C – the same temp I keep my guest bedroom at when not in use. It’s tucked away now in that room and barring any late night urges, it will stay there until at least the spring. 

Local food options continue to find me. This week I also bought a lamb to split with my sis. It’s from Alder Creek. Farms near Golden Lake and it was raised on organic food by my friends Kim and Gary. I foresee some dinner parties in the near future.

Kitchener for the weekend. Lots of visits with friends and a family gig on Sunday. And likely some ethnic food…. felafel, sushi, Pho, Chinese… mmmmm

Who knew?

Last night I had left over turnip curry and aloo gobi but there was no rice left so I searched the cupboard and found wheat berries that I bought ages ago. I’d never cooked wheat berries before but I figured they’d make a good base for the leftovers. Who knew they needed an overnight soak followed by 30 minutes in the pressure cooker. That meant they were out for last night but I threw some in to soak anyway and had ferike instead (that’s another post for another day).  

Tonight I cooked up the wheat berries. I was skeptical that they’d take 30 minutes in th p cooker – the longest I’d cooked anything was about 15 minutes for chick peas and even that seemed too long but I went with the full 30 anyway. They turned out perfectly.

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While they cooked I roasted a delicata squash and some mushrooms. I dressed the wheat with olive oil and a couple of ounces of blue cheese that pretty much melted and formed a sauce. I added the squash and mushrooms along with some capers, scallions and parsley and called it dinner. It was amazing.

The 2 firsts for. Me were cooking wheat berries and eating delicata squash with the skin on. I can recommend both.

More snow today. And more shoveling. It’s becoming a bit of a habit.  Also a long overdue catch up with my friend Andrew. A good day overall.

Ya…so I didn’t blog much. in November

I’ve been getting settled in my new digs. Sort of settled at least. I move things in and put them away with the full expectation that I’ll be packing it all away soon for the reno. Such is life. I will likely be in some level of renovation disarray for the next 7 months between the kitchen and bathroom. Despite all that, the place is quite livable. And. I love it.

I’ve been cooking pretty much every day which is good.

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Today was aloo gobi – cauliflower and potatoes. Normally. It gets eaten with some kind of bread but I don’t keep bread in the house so rice it was. Along with some left over turnip with coconut and mustard seeds. If you’re not a turnip lover this dish might win you over. If you like turnip and Indian food you might think you’ve died and gone to heaven. Google Vikas Khanna turnip for the recipe. It’s brilliant.

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We’ve had snow on the ground for over a week now and it’s been snowing off and on since Saturday. All together there’s about 10 inches of it. So glad my commute is a walk around the corner.

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Lots of Thai food lately. A yummy noodle soup and a veg curry. I. Like using food from my winter storage. Every day I’m using jams. And pickles and veg that I made or stored during the season. This is the way it’s supposed to be In the coming years I hope to be able to store and preserve enough to make it though most of the winter. Lots of it from my own garden.  :).

I never did blog about my move. It was a bit of an experience to say the least. If the world was a just place, UHAUL would be run of of business for being a crappy company with piss-poor customer. Service and no mechanism to file a complaint. I won’t go into detail but if you ever find yourself needing to rent a moving vehicle, don’t use uhaul, they suck. Thankfully angels saved me.

I’m glad November is behind us. Probably my least favourite month of them all. Only about 18 sleeps til the days start getting longer again and it’s time to decorate for Christmas :).